Tag Archives: Wonder

WWW Wednesday, 10-April-2019

10 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: It’s still steady-going with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. I only had two lunches last week to read and this week isn’t looking better. I’ll keep making my way through, though. No rush on this one.
I’m really enjoying Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. I squeezed a little extra reading time this weekend even though I couldn’t afford it. I hope to finish this one soon and not have it linger on this list for more than one more week.
I got my hold on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and was finally able to start it! I hope I have some long drives to get through this one quickly because I’ve been waiting for it forever!
I started reading The Power by Naomi Alderman on Sunday. Not too far into this one yet. I’m excited to stay one step ahead of my book club, though! We didn’t get our copies of this until Monday. Staying ahead is letting me focus on books I want to read, not just those for groups.

Recently finished: I was able to finish up News of the World by Paulette Jiles which was a lovely little book. I hope I remember it well enough for our next meeting because it seems so far away. I’ll get around to a review at some point. I feel so behind in reviews that it could be a week or two before I finally get to it! Better this than struggling for content, though.
I finished Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor Sunday morning. I enjoyed the story but it’s clear this is the first of a series. It was very unfinished and I was a bit disappointed. I hoped there was something more I would get before the book ended, but it was a set-up for the next books. I’m still debating if I’ll finish the series.

I posted two reviews this week. The first was for Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. Not a favorite read, but a solid one. I enjoy Larson’s style but this topic didn’t grab me as much as earlier ones have. I’ll have to try again soon. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book was a joy for me and I hope I can see the movie soon and experience it all over again! I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’ll grab another book off of my shelves next. I’m feeling great about getting through so many! Next up is Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi. I added a number of concentration camp memoirs to my TBR after listening to Anne Frank’s diary a few years ago. This one was a little harder to come by but I have a copy and I look forward to reading it!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio (4/5)

9 Apr

This was a book I heard about but didn’t really intend to read. It was for people who had biases, and I didn’t have a bias, right? Right?! I finally decided to go ahead and read it when it was recommended by Will Schwalbe during his appearance at the Midwest Literary Walk last year. The book also appears in his book, Books for Living, which I read recently and was reminded that I needed to read this one.

Cover image via Goodreads

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Summary from Goodreads:

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

Overall, I have to say I liked this book. Auggie was well portrayed, a normal kid with an abnormal face. I liked how the book focused on those who loved him and cared about him, too, and how they were affected and dealt with Auggie’s deformity. I think his classmates were the best characters, though Via and Justin may have topped them. It was reassuring to read from Auggie’s point of view and see how he saw the world and how he coped with the reactions of those around him. He was very smart and resourceful.

I found the characters credible though someone closer to a family like the Pullman’s might feel differently. Not being a part of a family like that, I appreciated the insight to difficulties they faced as well as the normality of their lives. No matter what you look like, you have to deal with siblings fighting and parents disagreeing. Those are unavoidable. Miranda and Justin were great side characters to include. They believed in Auggie and stuck up for him when they weren’t obligated and you wouldn’t guess that they would. Auggie had people fighting for him all around him.

Jack was my favorite character. He messed up and admitted it, which was very brave. I understood why he felt he had to say that he did, but how he realized what he’d done, tried to atone for it, and confessed was very admirable. I liked how his friendship with Auggie grew through the year and how other kids came to accept Auggie in the same way.

I’m fortunate to come from a family unline Auggie’s, so I couldn’t relate to them because of his facial abnormality. It made that part of the story hard to relate to. But bullying is universal. There were people in my school who were bullied for any number of reasons. You were too smart, friends with the wrong people, wore the wrong clothes or talked the wrong way. The base story of how harmful bullying can be and how it can be stopped and turned around did speak to me. I work in an industry that is trying very hard to push beyond bias and hearing how it can be affected in young children was a great story.

R.J. Palacio
Image via the book’s website

I liked the chapters from Via, Justin, and Miranda. I was in high school more recently than middle school so I could relate to their stories better. I also did theater so that part of the story spoke to me, too. The four years between Via and Auggie was huge and the approach that her classmates had to Auggie was very different than his peers and I appreciated that other view.

As much as I appreciated them, I also disliked the chapters from Auggie’s point of view. I felt that it was written in a much more juvenile voice than any of the other characters, even Jack and Summer. Maybe it was from being homeschooled for so long, but he didn’t seem to catch on to things quickly and it was a bit frustrating. Those chapters read at a lower reading level than the rest in my mind.

This book was blessed with three narrators; Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, and Kate Rudd. I was glad for the multiple narrators when I realized there were chapters from a multitude of characters’ POVs. It was good to have Justin and Jack with a male voice while Summer and Miranda had female ones. I only disliked the voice of Auggie and I was glad the whole book wasn’t narrated in that voice. It seemed like one of the female narrators assumed the voice of someone who had trouble breathing properly. Maybe this was meant to mimic Auggie’s difficulties breathing and eating because of his deformity, but it seemed demeaning and it became annoying very quickly.

People’s appearances attract attention for a hundred different reasons. Auggie’s face is atypical so people stare. We might think someone like Auggie doesn’t notice but he clearly does. I read this right after finishing Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger and she talks about being stared at because of her size. Her sentiments were the same in regards to people looking at her. Maybe we can’t help looking, but we need to learn to not say anything. The words of Auggie’s classmates hurt him much more than anyone staring at him would have.

Writer’s Takeaway: The other character’s taught me more about Auggie than Auggie did. The way they viewed him and how they loved him said a lot about who he was and how he treated others. I liked seeing him through their eyes. With my novel, I have two points of view and I should consider how one character can show the reader more about the other.

I enjoyed this book and what it had to say with my only reservation being Auggie’s narration. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Wonder by R.J. Palacio #bookreview #thewonderofwonder #choosekind | Smitter for Fiction
A Bookish Beans Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio | Smudged Thoughts

WWW Wednesday, 27-March-2019

27 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: It’s been slow going with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min because of a crazy work schedule. I hope to read a bit more of it during my lunch breaks this week, but I’m not planning on it. I work through ebooks slowly and this seems destined to that fate.
I’m making decent progress with Midwives by Chris Bohjalian before I go to bed at night. Though I suspect this book is increasing my anxiety because it seems impossible that someone is put on trial for doing their job and questioned so much!
I needed a new e-audiobook faster than expected and I picked up Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. There were some issues borrowing from the library so it took a bit longer than I hoped before I could start this one, but all is good and I’m going strong! Maybe I’ll finish this one as fast as I’ve finished my last few audiobooks.
I started a new audiobook in my car while I wait on my library hold. This is my next book club selection, News of the World by Paulette Jiles. It’s a nice short one so I’m optimistic that I’ll wrap it up quickly!

Recently finished: I wrapped up Wonder by R.J. Palacio on Saturday and adored the ending! I have some minor quibbles about the style, but the story and premise were wonderful. I’ll be reviewing this in the next couple weeks (because I’m so backlogged on reviews!) and I’m giving it Four out of Five Stars.
I absolutely flew through Dodgers by Bill Beverly. The story grabbed me and made me think about race relations more than I thought it would. East was a great voice to tell this story. This should be a great discussion point for my book club when we meet in April.

Two book reviews to share as well! The first is Origin by Dan Brown. This was a fun read for me and I’m glad I’m caught up on Robert Langdon’s adventures. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of the professor and I’ll be ready for the next one when it comes. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed This Is a Book by Demetri Martin. This was a little harder to review just because there wasn’t much of a plot to this collection of comedic stories. I liked it, though, and it had my husband giving me weird looks as I laughed out loud in bed. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’m still waiting for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli to come in at the library. I’m hoping it’s soon but not too soon so I can finish my other audiobook first.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 20-March-2019

20 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’ve been really enjoying Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The way the plot is told is really engaging and I like how each character reveals a bit more about the plot. It’s making me want to drive around just to listen more.
I began a new ebook and decided on Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. This was one that was recommended by my page-a-day book calendar in 2013. I’m still working that calendar off. Maybe once every ten years will be good for another one.
My book club’s next pick is Dodgers by Bill Beverly and I’ve grabbed it on audio. I don’t know anything about it, really, I’m just going in blind like I normally do. I’m so early into this one that I’m not ready to form an opinion yet. More to come.
I’m making a great effort to tear down my TBR mountain and I’ve started another one from the list, Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. I’ve been reading Bohjalian for a few years now and my copy of this one is actually autographed. I’m keeping my fingers crossed but I’ve got a feeling this break-out hit will be a win with me.

Recently finished: I finally finished Origin by Dan Brown while I was waiting for my computer to update on Friday. I didn’t realize how close I was to finishing it. I’m glad to be caught up on the series and I’m excited to see what else comes next from Langdon. I’m sure there’s more to tell. I gave the book Four out of Five stars. A review will be up next week.
I was able to finish This Is a Book by Demetri Martin quickly. It was a fun book of essays, drawings, and lists. Not much substance to it but fun all the same. I gave it Three out of Five stars.
I think I’ll have finished Thunderstruck by Erik Larson by next week. I’m getting through it pretty quick with my long bike rides. It’s not my favorite thing to listen to while riding because it’s so technical, but I can tell the plots are about to intersect and I’m excited to see how.

And so many reviews as well! I was first able to review Books for Living by Will Schwalbe. This one was really touching and a great book for book lovers. The post went up last Thursday, please go check it out.
I also reviewed The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. This was a surprise winner for me and I’m so glad I finally gave it time. I wish I’d gotten to it earlier. Four out of Five Stars.
I also wrote a review yesterday for Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. Yes, that is a review every day since my last WWW Wednesday! I’ve had so many good books to review. This book blew me away and I think I may soon have a new favorite YA author. I gave the book Five out of Five stars, changing my rating when I started reviewing it and realized I had nothing bad to say about it.

Reading Next: I’ll need a new car audiobook soon and the next up is one I’m very excited about, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while and I’m getting giddy about starting it soon.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 13-March-2019

13 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m getting so close to finishing Origin by Dan Brown! The story picked up and I’ve been reading it really fast to keep going. I’m excited to know this will likely be on my ‘finished’ list next week.
I started Thunderstruck by Erik Larson and made a decent dent in it with some long bike rides this week. I’m honestly thinking this could be finished in a week because of the amount of riding I’m doing. This progress will have to slow down when the weather gets better and I can ride outside.
I grabbed a new audiobook for my car due to some amazing progress reading (see below). I decided to pick up Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I was reminded that I wanted to explore this book by reading Will Schwalbe. When I heard him speak, he mentioned being part of a book club for adults that read children’s and YA books and how much his group enjoyed this one. So far, I have to agree!
I picked up a library copy of Demetri Martin’s This Is a Book. I’m a big fan of Martin’s comedy and I saw him live (gosh, was that ten years ago?) so I’m excited to see what he can do with a book of essays.

Recently finished: A big week for finishing books! First was Books for Living by Will Schwalbe which I finished because of a surprise trip to Ann Arbor (45 minutes for me) to see some friends. The drive gave me time to finish this one and get excited about my book on hold. Look for a review tomorrow!
I also wrapped up The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton which was a surprise and a huge hit for me. I loved the characters and their passion for writing reminded me of some close friends I used to write with. It was a feel-good piece for me, though there wasn’t a lot of feeling good for the characters. Review coming next week.
I was so eager to finish Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys but now I miss it! This was a wonderfully fun book and I’m so glad I added it to my TBR and was introduced to a new and amazing author. I’m looking forward to reading more by Sepetys in the future.

And reviews! The first one I posted was last Thursday where I reviewed Shannon A. Thompson’s Minutes Before Sunset. I don’t think I was the ideal reader for this one, but I read it quickly and enjoyed one of the characters a lot. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed You Are An Ironman by Jacques Steinberg. I read this book at just the right time in my life and it really resonated with me and gave me something to enjoy while riding. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I feel it’s too soon to think of anything except an ebook. My next one will be Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min. This is one of the last Book Calendar recommendations I have left and I’m getting excited about finishing the long list that amazing (and awful?) calendar created.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!